Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Words from the heart of Marianne Jones

Friends, you are in for a beautiful treat. One of my dearest friends is a dragon slayer and full of grace and beauty. She wrote this wrenchingly touching piece that captured my heart. I asked if I could share it with all of you and she generously agreed. My hope is to feature more of her writing here in the coming weeks. The world needs this voice. Let me introduce you to the incomparable Marianne Jones. She is as gifted as she is tender and dear. She has my whole heart and you're going to love her too. Enjoy~

Honesty check: This week I’ve been wrestling. Wrestling with this word “favored” as in when the angel said to Mary “Greetings, one who is highly favored. Mary, Did You Know? Is a fan favorite this time of year. Love it – esp by anyone singing acapella - But Mary, DID you know? How COULD you know?” What were you expecting when the angel said your son would “be great and will be called the son of the Most High…..and his reign will never end. (Luke !:32-33)” Whoa! That sounds like favor. As in I was picked. As in I’m privileged to do something and see something and be a part of something very very very special. I can get behind that kind of favor. Her response was “be it to me as you have said” Not sure mine would have been – but I surely understand she was a very special girl. I’m in her corner. Go Mary. I get “favored” in that context. But this week I’m struggling to juxtapose “favored” with the hard things we’re asked to go through. (Not that we’re really asked) Mary….DID you know? How could you know that your privilege of raising the Son of God would come at such a heart wrenching cost? If you did, would you have said the same thing? (probably so – or you may not have made God’s short list) I know there were joys, but did you know you would have to watch your baby boy turn into a man who was rejected and spit upon and listen as pound by pound they hammered nails into his near naked skeleton? How did you manage the sorrow? Where is the favor in that context? That’s just really really hard. And so I wrestle.

And it’s about Mary, but not really. It’s about me and where I find myself these days. There is a part of my heart that feels extreme privilege somewhere within this cancer diagnosis. Really and truly. It has allowed me a light-hearted perspective about much in this life and a satisfying sobriety and confident assurance about the perfection of the next. Things that I used to think glitter have shown their illusive properties. I value and strive toward substantive things like never before. My life is rich. People around me love deeply. It feels so good to be cared for. There is a part of my heart that feels chosen to walk a road of privilege with God – going to places in my soul where He meets me in the most ridiculously satisfying ways. Favor. In that regard, weird as it sounds, I feel highly favored – as if I’ve been given a trust. But the day in and day out can be really really really hard. And not favor-ful at all. I wrestle like the Psalmist who says “how long O Lord?”

My body is weary. My body hurts. I find myself resentful of God’s interruption….especially during the holidays. Sometimes I see a soul my story touches or encourages and that feels good…but often my days pass by and there are no great lessons learned…no tidy ribbons to tie around blessings gained….just mundane naps and meds and needles and nausea and fears about the future. Just being honest. At least that is what it looks like from here. So I wrestle. And in the quiet of my heart I hear God whisper his name. He is God. He has a plan in motion to point the world to the love He has for them and expensively displayed on the cross. I know very little of the workings out of the plan except one day He asked (well not really asked) Mary to be a part of it. He called her favored though much of what she went through was far from my “I won the lottery” definition of favor. And somehow He is asking me to be a part of it too...in my little corner of the world...in my little way…and I struggle with frustration…because I don’t want to have this c-word. But He is God and this is ultimately His story and so the deeper part of me (though lately reluctantly) cries out “be unto me as you have said.”

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